Updated Jun 18, 2018

Business Education, Financial and Digital literacy for female refugees and entrepreneurs


Linnie Pawlek

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Stage 3: Proof of Concept

The curriculum for financial literacy has been written. All scripts for the video have been written as well as storyboards for videos. 4 of 8 videos have been filmed and produced. Participants (refugees in CO) have accessed and watched 3 videos at this point. The curriculum for business education courses have been written, scripts and storyboards for 2 of the 11 videos have been completed. No videos have been filmed or produced yet. Videos are between 10-13 minutes long and can be viewed on mobile phones through direct download or use of SIM card.Smart phones are not necessary for vidoes as we have tested our model on flip phones and older model Samsung phones.
Yes. Currently we have 18 refugees, both male and female, particpating in our pilot program. They attend class once a week for 1.5 hours and receive a corresponding video each week. Participants also receive at least two text messages a week with questions and reminders about the class.
We are in the middle of our pilot program in the U.S. We are offering two hybrid model financial literacy classes for refugees in the Denver metro area. Currently we are in stage 2 of the Nesta standards of evidence. Stage 1- We can describe what we do and why it matters, logcally and coherently. Stage 2- We have captured data that shows positive change, but have limited ability to prove it was because of our action. Stage 3- Demonstrate casality by using a control or comparison group. This will occur during our next 9 week session. Here we will collect data on refugees in an ESL class but not in our financial iteracy program and compare to the changes occurring in behavior with those enrolled in our course and the ESL course. Stage 4- Have at least 1 replication evaluation that confirms these conclusions. Stage 5- Create manuals, systems and procedures to ensure consistent replication and positive impact. We anticipate Stage 3-5 development as we prove our concept and move from the pilot phase.

Focus Areas:

Education, Gender, Digital Finance and 2 MoreSEE MORE

Education, Gender, Digital Finance, Digital Development and Digital Inclusion & ConnectivitySEE LESS

Implemented In:

United States

United StatesSEE LESS

Lives Impacted to Date
Country Implemented In
Funds Raised to Date

Mission and Vision

In order to assess the success of our innovation and hybrid model we have developed standards and benchmarks for our courses. These include both short term and long term goals for particpants. The short term goals for business education include: 1. Demonstrate an understanding of business principles and management, which will enable participant to achieve economic empowerment and financial inclusion. 2. Understand personal and societal consequences of business decisions. 3. Exhibit ability to use accounting and record keeping to improve business. 4. Be engaged in business practices that will provide adequate income. Prior to the beginning of each cohort we will collect information on all participants including, marital status, # of family members, current employment, # of years in school, literacy aptitude, knowledge of available banking options. In the short term starting a business or expanding a business will be monitored as well as use of financial services. In the long-term participants will be tracked for success of business, affordability of school for children, housing and asset acquisition.

Innovation Description

Business education curriculum is developed for semi literate to illiterate adults. The curriculum is then adapted to produce corresponding videos that can be accessed via mobile phone. Mobile phones allow users to view the videos without a need for web connectivity. The course is taught over a 12 week period using the hybrid model of 50% clasrroom instruction and 50% video instruction. Not only are participants learning business concepts they are also developing digital literacy.
How does your innovation work?
By developing curriculum that can be accessed using our hybrid model, particpants get the best of both worlds. They will be able to view the videos as often as needed without having to miss work or sacrifice household duties. They will also have access to a qualified instructor once a week, who can answer questions and provide hands-on application of material. During the weekly class session, one meal is offered to offset wages lost and childcare servuces are available for children 7 and under. After each session, particpants will receive the digital download directly to their phone. Participants are expected to watch the video throughout the week. During the week particpants receive text messages to ask questions and engage learners. If particpants do not own a mobile phone, one will be provided for them. We are working with a local college to develop a solar powered portable classroom that can be used to charge mobile phones at least once a week during in class sessions. The hybrid model has many positives.They make it easier for more people to get a quality education because hybrid courses require only limited in class attendance. Early studies suggest participantsin hybrid courses are more likely to participate in group discussions and collaborate. This is because they have time to develop questions and answers as well as new solutions. Through this innovation we are aiding in developing a collaborative envorinment for female entrepreneurs to learn, test and grow their businesses as they develop a network of community members.

Competitive Advantage

Our goal was to overcome the need for web connectivity. There are many innovations in education. However the majority require access to the internet and web connectivity. In much of the developing world, people do not have access to computers or the web. But many do have access to a mobile phone. By developing a curriuclum that can be adapted to video and directly downloaded to mobile phones, our model allows a greater number of people who have beendenied access to education because of time, travel, gender or money to access quality education.

Planned Goals and Milestones

In order to expand our innovation, we need to develop greater awareness of our innovation and acquire new partnerships, especially grassroots partners in various regions. Through our innovation we can train local teachers and facilitators and provide them with the curriculum and technical support they need to broaden or scope of work. As our innovation expands, we anticipate adapting the curriculum to match the needs of each community and improving upon the videos as we have more capital and manpower. Our short term goals are to produce and edit all the videos for our business education curriculum and then begin a pilot in Accra, Ghana. We have a grassroots partner, who is very interested in the technology aspect of our design. Once we prove the concept in Accra, we hope to expand to more rural locations and train more facilitators. Long term we want to expand our curriculum offerings to include English, math and life skills courses. Because we have been piloting our model in the US with refugees from around the world, long term we see this as a means to expand educational opportunities to those in refugee camps or emergency siutuations.
We will contnue to develop graphics for our videos as we continue to master motion graphics. We will produce and edit the rest of our financial literacy series videos and begin production on our business education videos. Our pilot program in Denver is halfway complete. We will continue to collect data and solicit feedback for improvement. We need to further community awareness of our product and model as well as expand our partnerships.
Funding Goal15,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted200
New Implemented CountriesGhana


Jan 2018
Date Unknown
Lives Impacted
Date Unknown
New Country
United States